Life after Heartbleed: What Google Apps Customers Need to Know

heartbleedThis week, a major security flaw was discovered in OpenSSL, the open-source implementation of cryptographic protocols SSL and TLS. This flaw, now referred to as Heartbleed, poses a fundamental risk to the security of data transmitted between servers. In other words, the bug allows malevolent parties to request data from a web server’s memory, which may include encryption keys, passwords, user information and content. Once attackers have access to this data they can use it to impersonate services and users. What’s worse is that the flaw has been around since December 2011, meaning potential hackers have had access to vulnerable data for over two years.

Scary, right?

Yes, Heartbleed should be taken seriously. End users can and should take key steps like resetting account passwords, but much of the onus is placed on the web providers we rely on and trust. For BetterCloud and our customers (and most of the free world), Google is a major player in our online lives – personally and professionally.

Thankfully the web giant, that actually employs the researcher who discovered Heartbleed, was extremely … Read more →

These 40 Stats Will Change the Way You Think About Google Apps

google-apps-custom-2This past October, we published a post rounding up 47 of the most vital stats about the state of the Google Apps ecosystem. The post was one of our most shared ever and it’s clear that people operating in this space are looking for more information about the success, growth and future of Apps. Here are 40 more stats you need to know about the Google Apps Ecosystem.

The Cloud Office Market

The move to the cloud is undeniably under way, but to what extent? A company’s move to the cloud depends on various factors like organization type, size, prior investment in on-premises systems, attitude and much more. And, while many organizations have indeed moved to the cloud, it’s worth noting that the vast majority of companies are still operating in on-premises environments. This however represents a huge opportunity for cloud software providers like BetterCloud, which is able to not only serve existing cloud office users, but also grow tremendously as cloud becomes the de facto for organizations around the world.

There are two primary suppliers competing … Read more →

3 Qualities Shared by the Most Effective Google Apps Admins

Eli Winderbaum is the Director of Customer Success at BetterCloud where he interacts with dozens of Google Apps administrators daily. Follow Eli on Google+.

google-apps-admin-blog-imageGoogle Apps administrators play an integral role in any organization operating on Google Apps. They have the power to drive a company’s IT strategy, implement that strategy and access a huge amount of company and employee data. So, great admins are not only tech savvy and experienced, but also incredibly trustworthy.

Over the past two years, we’ve interacted with thousands of Apps administrators from the largest Fortune 100 enterprises down to the smallest non-profits, and have come to recognize three qualities every great Google Apps admin possesses.

Innovative

Google is a forward thinking and innovative company, and these philosophies extend to the Google Apps suite. Great Google Apps admins possess these same qualities, and look for opportunities to strategically deploy Google Apps’ existing capabilities and newly released features to advance the business goals of his or her organization.

Apps admins who stay on top of new features … Read more →

FlashPanel Customer Survey: Chromebooks and Hangouts Surging, Google Apps Admin Best Practices and How Google’s Channel Has Accelerated Cloud Adoption

Eight years after its inception, Google Apps stands as a force to be reckoned with. More organizations are migrating away from on-premises legacy systems and trading up to the cloud, spurring Google to invest more energy into the suite every year. In the past few months alone, we’ve seen major upgrades from Google like completely overhauled spreadsheets, a new conferencing system and additional API offerings, which have allowed developers like BetterCloud to provide even more functionality to our customers. Clearly, the suite is evolving and cloud services brokerages and Google Apps resellers have stepped up to the plate to bring Google Apps to organizations around the world.

The ecosystem is complicated, involving many moving parts – Google, partners, third-party vendors and customers – but there is very little data on the growth, challenges, opportunities and success of the ecosystem as a whole. That’s why we’ve made a concerted effort to survey our customers and release statistics surrounding the health and evolution of the Google Apps ecosystem.

Read more →

Why Your IT Department Needs to Embrace Shadow IT

shadow ITAs the provider of an enterprise security SaaS application, we know that the IT landscape is changing at an increasingly rapid pace. And, we’ve been hearing more and more from concerned IT administrators who worry about their users installing and using unapproved SaaS products. According to a recent Frost & Sullivan survey produced in conjunction with the Cloud Alliance for Google Apps, nearly two-thirds of end users say they choose and install their own applications in the workplace.

While this so-called shadow IT leaves some IT admins anxious over possible security breaches, another Frost survey put out in November 2013 finds that employees turn to shadow IT simply to gain efficiency (malevolence usually isn’t in play). In fact, the same study notes that IT employees are even likelier to use unapproved SaaS applications than their non-IT counterparts. Clearly, goals and reality are misaligned.

As an IT administrator, the majority of today’s “best practices” tell you to squash … Read more →

3 Reasons the New Chromebox for Meetings Should Be Your Next IT Investment

Chromebox for MeetingsLast year, we predicted Google would launch a GoToMeeting competitor in 2014. The company delivered this month with Chromebox for Meetings and we couldn’t be happier!

The system, which combines software and hardware to deliver one seamless web conferencing experience, takes the best of Google Hangouts and Chrome OS, and brings users all-cloud, always-on video meetings.

Here at BetterCloud, we’ve gradually phased out GoToMeeting as much as possible, favoring Hangouts, but sometimes technical aspects like attendee limits and disparate video and audio make Hangouts unwieldy. That’s why we’ve already pre-ordered Chromebox for Meetings for our New York and Atlanta offices. And here are three more reasons why we think the new video-conferencing system should be your next IT investment.

Create a Consistent Environment in the Cloud

Running your organization on Google Apps means your users are living and working in the suite every day – particularly why we’ve tried to transition to Google Hangouts as much as possible. Using Hangouts instead of a … Read more →

Special Report: 2014 State of the Google Apps Ecosystem

This winter, the Cloud Alliance for Google Apps, the only consortium of Google Apps-related independent software vendors, in conjunction with research firm, Frost & Sullivan, released the results of the second bi-annual State of the Google Apps Ecosystem report.

Based on survey answers from 1,158 Google Apps administrators and end-users, the report reveals new information regarding satisfaction with Google Apps, the role third party applications play in the use of the Google Apps suite, a growing willingness by both admins and end-users to spend their own money to purchase third party applications and lastly, the diminishing reliance on Microsoft Office products.

For complete survey results, please visit cloudallianceforgoogleapps.com/report.

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Microsoft Cloud Sales Commission Cuts are Just One More Reason Why Google Apps Will Win

cloud-dollar-sign_F10_28

Last April BetterCloud’s CEO, David Politis, wrote an article titled Google Apps vs. Office 365: Why Google Will Win the Enterprise. The article detailed the reasons why David is confident Google will win: a generational shift, pricing, timing and differing business models.

A year ago, David argued that differing business models would greatly inhibit the distribution and adoption of Microsoft’s cloud products and recent changes to the company’s partner commission structure, as outlined by CRN, further prove this point.

While promoting cloud products has been a company goal for the last few years, a Microsoft executive notes that so far only a quarter of Microsoft’s 600,000 partners have joined the company’s cloud channel programs and it’s not difficult to see why adoption has lagged. When you take into consideration that on-premise and legacy Microsoft products have been channel partners’ bread and butter for years, you immediately understand why promoting cloud products – essentially cannibalizing existing business – is wholly undesirable to partners.

According … Read more →

5 Predictions for Google Apps in 2014

20142013 was an eventful year for Google Apps. A number of notable organizations moved to Google, including Whirlpool, the U.S. Army and the City of Boston, Google Hangouts were revamped and reintroduced as a unified communications system and, most recently, Google Sheets was rebuilt from the ground up.

Google Apps has certainly seen tremendous growth in terms of adoption and functionality and we expect 2014 to be an even bigger year for the platform. Here are our top 5 predictions for 2014.

1. Drive matures in a major way and more organizations move away from Microsoft Office

Adoption of the cloud is fully underway with many organizations even implementing a cloud-first IT strategy. It’s no longer a question of “if,” but “when” the market reaches 100% cloud adoption. In 2013, a number of huge corporations and government entities moved to Google Apps, showing that the platform is truly capable of handling a wide array of use cases, requirements and security concerns.

Read more →